Over Ambitious
Owning a home is a rite of passage; it signifies adulthood and perhaps success in your career and marriage. There is a lot of emphasis put on owning a home, and even more so the act of renovating or redecorating, especially in the entertainment industry. Young celebrities are purchasing homes left and right, and HGTV was ranked as the 11th most-watched network in 2017 (out of 136). However, do homeowners have a clear handle on just how much time, dedication, and money goes into these upgrades? We surveyed nearly 1,000 participants to see how many homeowners are aware of what it takes to renovate a home successfully. Are younger or new homeowners less savvy than those who are older or more experienced? Do these generational gaps cause differences in how money is spent and handled? Who is more likely to try the DIY approach? Let’s take a look.

The information age

Generational breakdown of home renovation projects There is a generational gap in how home renovation projects are paid for, as shown below in our “Paying Off Projects” infographic, but where the biggest gaps have been found is regarding how homeowners learned how to get the job done. Fifty-five percent of baby boomers said they hired professionals so that they didn’t have to learn how to renovate their home, while nearly the same amount of millennials learned how to renovate through friends or family. However, Gen Xers were more likely to watch YouTube videos, while millennials were most likely to work with a family member or friend who knew how to accomplish the project.

Putting romance in renovations

How couples paid for and executed home projects Does being in a relationship affect how home renovation costs are handled? Men in relationships were over 20 percentage points more likely than women to pay for a renovation on their own, roughly 75 percent for men as opposed to 53 percent of women. There was also a difference in how many people said they split the cost of home renovations with their significant others: over 10 percent of men versus nearly 28 percent of women. Figuring out how to pay for these renovations is only one piece of the puzzle, though. Arguing and fighting is almost inevitable during these times, as home upgrade projects can exacerbate already existing relationship issues. Couples fought over things like the project taking longer than anticipated or costing more than expected, but the majority of men and women said they didn’t fight at all.

The price is right

Average cost of home renovations by rooms Rooms tend to have different functions and, therefore, may require different costs. According to our respondents, the most expensive room to renovate was the kitchen, which cost an average of $7,398. This is likely because of cabinetry and appliances, which tend to be the biggest expenses. It may be worth it, however, to fork over the money for this particular room, as the kitchen tends to have the biggest return on investment. The roof was the next most expensive renovation project, coming in at an average cost of $6,955. This is also an important part of the home, as a strong, secure roof means having a strong, safe home. However, it seems most homeowners were over budget when it came to kitchen renovations but under budget when working on the roof. Homeowners were $352 over budget when it came to working on the kitchen but were actually $427 under budget when renovating the roof. Respondents largely underestimated the back porch, as well; the average amount of money spent to renovate this area was $3,794, with homeowners going over their budget by $798.

Will that be cash or credit?

Methods of pay for home renovation projects How are homeowners paying for these expensive renovations? It turns out, over 35 percent of millennials paid for their home upgrades using a credit card, compared to more than 32 percent of Gen Xers, and roughly 21 percent of baby boomers. However, 34 percent of baby boomers preferred using a check, compared to less than 20 percent of millennials and 23 percent of Gen Xers. Why are millennials so quick to swipe their credit card? It could be that this is the quickest and most efficient way to access money. If baby boomers are more likely to write a check, it shows they are more prepared to cover the expense and may have saved up over time for this reason.

Investing in your home

As a result of surveying homeowners about their cost perceptions of various home upgrades, we can conclude that baby boomers may be more equipped to handle the costs compared to millennials, who may not be as well-off economically. This idea is evidenced by the fact that millennials are the first generation in U.S. history to enter adulthood in worse economic shape than their parents—with a high unemployment rate and greater student debt. This may explain why they are so quick to charge home upgrades to their credit cards instead of paying with cash or a check. If you’re hoping to upgrade your home, there’s no need to make things more complicated than they should be. Home improvement can be an easy, fun way to express your creativity and make your home unique. Porch can help you find the right professional to help you with your home improvement project, give you project guidance and help you understand what improvements cost with projects calculators. No need to spend hours on YouTube or make costly mistakes trying to take on tasks you don’t have the skills to complete. Porch can be your partner for your next home project.

Methodology and Limitations

The data presented in this study were gathered by Amazon’s Mechanical Turk service. We surveyed 998 people who met the qualifications laid out at the beginning of the study. Of the respondents, 45.9 percent were male, and 54 percent were female. Respondents were also between 19 and 78 years old. Outliers were removed from the study, while evaluating the data provided, for inconsistencies in their responses. These results were not statistically tested. This study was done using self-reported data. There can potentially be issues with data in this form including selective memory, telescoping, attribution, and exaggeration. An attempt was made to ensure the respondents’ full attention, but we were unable to verify full honesty in the answers that were given.


Fair Use Statement

You don’t need to hire a professional to share our study and all related graphs for noncommercial distribution. Just take the initiative and include a link back to this page so that our contributors get credit too.

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